Emotionally arousing events are typically better remembered and more resistant to forgetting than neutral events. Findings from word list paradigms suggest that this may not hold for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who also tend to be less accurate as eyewitnesses under some circumstances. To test whether attenuated effects of arousal on memory may be responsible for poorer eyewitness testimonies in ASD, we asked adults with and without the disorder to view either arousing or neutral versions of a narrated slide sequence (Experiment 1) or video clip (Experiment 2) before assessing their memory for the material. Both groups exhibited increases in psychophysiological arousal during the arousing compared with the neutral version of the narratives, and both groups also demonstrated a memory advantage for the arousing events. Contrary to predictions, these observations indicate that stimulus induced arousal modulates memory for naturalistic events relatively typically in ASD.
- autism spectrum disorder